November 22nd  2017.          

Next club meeting Monday 4th December 2015.

The activities will be as follows:

1.    The main feature will be a mini coin fair. Tables will not be charged for & there will be a collective members table.

2.    A coin quiz

3.    Members to bring along one or two items that for some reason are considered special (e.g. recent acquisition, a long sought after piece, an unusual find, an oddity etc.). A brief written explanation as to why the piece is special to you.

4.    Christmas buffet!

Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.



·         Please continue thinking about Short Talks for January, and Auction lots for March!


November Meeting

Michael explained that when he began in the business it was important to have reference books to work from. He then pointed out that errors and varieties in coins are continuing to be found and that reference books cannot keep up to date. This talk would be restricted to new errors and varieties that are unreported in the standard texts.


Starting with the gold series, Michael explained that Michael Marsh’s book was the first to come out in 1980. Only two sovereigns were singled out as unusual, the 1839 Ansell and the rare 827 1863, no other varieties were given. An academic advised Michael at the time that there were no errors in the gold coinage because so much care was taken in their manufacture. Michael was told that the first Victorian sovereigns (shield-back) shared a common obverse with the farthing, so any dies that were deemed unsuitable for the sovereign would be used for the farthing instead. This, it turns out, is a myth, as Michael explained. Contrary to the advice given, Michael DID find varieties in the gold series and then realised that those varieties were not present in the farthing series, so the farthings must have had their own dies.

Three examples of the varieties Michael illustrated were - an 1846, 4 over inverted 4; an 1861 with an unusual repaired E of DEI and an 1861  C over rotated C in VICTORIA but these were only three of a much larger number. Interestingly, all the varieties were for the obverse, none has been found for the reverses, so far.


Next, Michael covered the silver issues. The standard reference for silver was Seaby and Rayner’s

“The English Silver Coinage from 1649” which has been updated over the years, most recently by

Maurice Bull, however the book that has been of most use to Michael was Peter Davies’ “British

Silver Coins” as it contained far more varieties.

Starting with the Crowns, Michael showed a piece where the edge legend had been doubled, with the second imprint upside down with respect to the first. This is a genuine 1844 Crown, verified by the Mint, which has accidentally been through the edger twice. Another Crown variety is the 1893, where two different obverse “pointings” are known. Most interesting though, were the different “streamers” on the reverse of the 1893 Crowns. It seems that the engravers were allowed a certain latitude in this area and seven new “streamer” variations  have been found (by the combined research work of Michael & Malcolm Lewendon) in addition to the two mentioned in Davies’s book (for 1893). The two variations mentioned by Davies are common whilst the other seven have only been found as single examples, so far.

Moving on, we come to the double florin, for which there are two obverses (1&2) and two reverses (A&B). Always listed as (1 + A) & (2 + B). Some fifteen years ago, Michael came across the (1+B) variety which no other reference book or dealer have ever picked up !

For halfcrowns we have very small pickings, with only a small variation on Victoria’s crown on the obverse of the 1887 (listed by Davies but not clearly). As Michael was only reporting varieties and errors not reported in standard references and florins are extensively covered in the latest ESC, (an extensive re-write by Malcolm Lewendon), they are not included here, with the exception of the 1849 florin. Michael pointed out that the florins listed as ‘without WW’ DO have a WW. The obverse bust and date have been moved fractionally, causing the WW to disappear under the thicker linear circle just inside the edge teeth.

There is also a variety with an inverted A for V in Victoria.

A more general but unspotted variety is where the ONC reads ONC (broken bar of e). This ‘broken letter’ reverse die had a remarkable lifetime and can be found on florins from 1852 to 1860. All examples are rare with the 1853 being the commonest. Michael also showed us an example of a choice reverse brockage gothic florin.

Moving next to shillings, we have three reverse dies for the Jubilee issue, differing in the tail of  Q of QUI. Next a sixpence from 1853, with examples of both Arabic 1 and Roman I in the date. The Roman I created by the inverted repair to the 1 ! Also a variety of the 1883 sixpence, most easily told apart by the alignment and size of the SIX. An obverse brockage illustrated the effect of not having a collar, which allows the design to spread out more, appearing larger. In the groat series, Michael has found two 1840s with a broken centre bar in the E of PENCE (showing as PCNCE). There is also a variety that has always been assumed to be 1847/6. Michael has investigated further and deduced that it is in fact 1847/8 (as the shape of the underlying numeral could NOT be a 6 but was an 8) – not to be confused with the 1848/7! Another example from 1848 is the G over G sideways (in G of D: G:). So, we arrive at threepences, with a repair to the bow on the reverse resulting on both ribbons being tied over, instead of right over and left under. We also saw a C over C sideways, an A over inverted A and an N over R that looked like a H over R. Unexpectedly a 1861 Maundy 2d is found with the 6 over 1 together with an example of plain 1861 before the repair.


Michael then went on to describe the copper/bronze series and began by mentioning the standard texts, Peck, Freeman and of course Michael’s own publications on Victorian bronze pennies.

Firstly he showed a copper penny from 18??, the last two digits being completely missing, speculating that this could be a test strike or a filled die. An overdate accounted for as 1858/3 turned out to be 1858/2, Michael putting forward the explanation that as a bronze coinage was imminent, old dies were being used where possible and that this would have been a die originally used for the Trial of the Pyx, in 1852. Michael  showed us that there are two varieties of Rose on the reverse of the copper pennies, the large Rose being rare, the small Rose being the norm. Next in the Bronze series, we had the I of BRITT over T (showing as BRTTT) and C of VICTORIA over G (showing as VIGTORIA). We also we were shown an example of the ‘scratched’ halfpenny, where a record was made of the total tonnage for each type and the total of all types struck between 1860 to 1869. Peck recorded 28 of these coins, Michael has been able to add 6 more (giving a total now of 34). Another halfpenny had the final T of BRITT over an inverted V, which Michael explained by saying that the engraver probably forgot the die was reversed and put the letter punch for the V of VICTORIA on the wrong half of the coin. Yet another halfpenny had the B of BRITT over R. Finally he showed us a dramatic mis-strike, where the blank hadn’t stayed in the collar and had spread across the top right edge.

A well researched, illustrated and presented talk, given at short notice, with many of the actual coins on show. Thank you Michael.


Future Events.

Past Events

In November 1977 the annual auction took place....

... Ten years later members were still holding an annual auction....

...... and ten years after that in 1997 the annual auction continued to be centre stage!

Just for a change, in 2007 we had a talk on Hop Tokens by Duncan Pennock


Club Secretary.